We travel a lot. It’s our passion, hobby, and many times, a necessity for work. Splitting time between OC and Salt Lake now has me on the road more than ever. I sat down to add it up the other day and realized that I had been gone for 162 days of the last year. That’s even more than I thought! lol! With long overseas travel for months at a time, domestic air travel and plenty of road trips, we have tried SO many different travel products it’s crazy. Our kids are almost always in tow too, so we have literally tried it all. This is the shopping guide that I get asked about most, the best travel gear essentials and gifts and I am excited to share our tried and true favorites with you. Affiliate links are included in this post.
Many of these are practical travel gear and essentials actually used for traveling, and a few are just fun travel gifts for the home for those that are travel obsessed.
Our must haves for airplane travel…these tablets, noise cancelling headphones, a good eye mask and neck pillow. For those that take long haul flights especially. We have found that while many airlines offer TV’s in the seat backs, they are not always the most reliable. These tablets let you download hours of movies, TV, games, books and music that you can have with you at all times, no internet access needed, which makes them ideal for road trips too. We keep these as special “travel only” tablets which makes them even more special and interesting when the kids get to use them. Pair them with a pair of noise cancelling headphones. These pretty ones for the grown-ups (the come in all kinds of colors), and these top-rated, inexpensive ones for the kiddos. Be sure to check whether your tablet is compatible with wireless headphones or needs wired ones.
A good umbrella is another travel must have. Pop it in your travel backpack and just keep it there at all times. That way you will have one when you need it.
Keeping our belongings safe and out of the hands of thieves is obviously a concern when you are traveling in big cities or overseas where petty theft is a big problem. You hear the horror stories of stolen wallets and passports and definitely don’t want to be a victim. Riding public transportation, visiting crowded tourist sites and being generally unfamiliar with your surroundings definitely all make you more of a target. By investing in a few key pieces, we have found that we are able to stay at ease and not worry about our important items.
This backpack is our go-to. We use them exclusively for ALL travel. We have matching black ones so they aren’t calling attention to themselves. They are equipped with an RFID pouch for wallets and passports, locking zippers, steel mesh, steel wiring in the straps…you name it, they have thought of it! There is a pouch for your laptop, locking clips on the inside for you to attach accessories like this RFID protected wallet, and just all around room for the necessities. They are lightweight, sturdy, sleek looking and just overall fantastic.
I also have this crossbody purse and this wallet for the same reason I carry the backpack. Plenty of room to store everything I need for a full day of walking and sightseeing and total peace of mind. John has the wallet too. While it is a little clunkier than a traditional wallet, they RFID protection, zipper pouches and chain for him to connect to his belt make it a no-brainer to carry along.
I have gotten so lazy these days, I hardly even take my big camera with me anymore. The phone cameras are so good, I find myself gravitating toward it more and more. If your traveler is a photo enthusiast too, check out these lenses that you can add to your phone for amazing pictures…ready to upload to instagram right away! 😉
I love these pretty, comfortable travel flats. They are easy to pack, super comfy and come in TONS of colors.
For the world traveler, this set of interlocking outlet adapters is awesome. I love that they are multicolored too, which makes it harder to lose them and leave them behind in a hotel room because they stand out!
If you have never had the experience of renting an airbnb before, give your traveler an AirBnB gift card and let them try it out. It is SUCH a wonderful way to travel! We have had nothing but positive experiences and it makes your feel more like you are living like a local wherever you are. It’s fantastic…and can be much less expensive than a traditional hotel for even more amenities. You can check out one of our experiences in Amsterdam renting a traditional canal house, here.
I am considering doing a gallery of these amazing vintage travel posters in our upstairs hallway. I would love to add in photos of our family in those locations listed on the posters for fun. This cork globe is another fun option for travelers to keep track of all the places they have been.
A few more things to consider…
Rick Steves travel books (for the European traveler, our favorite)
Any of these individual items or a collection of these best travel gear essentials are guaranteed to not only be a great gift, but be very useful for years to come.
Want to check out some of the places we’ve traveled? You can find all of our travel posts from around the world here.
Need gift guides and ideas for others on your list? Check out all of our helpful gift guides here.
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Happy gifting and traveling!